SMERU Indonesia

SMERU n Monitoring the Social Crisis in Indonesia n No. 10 / May-October 2000

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Pengajuan Proposal Pemantauan Program JPS Oleh LSM Daerah Kepada Lembaga Donor
NGOs and Proposals to Donor Agencies: Problems and Procedures

Previous editions of the SMERU Newsletter highlighted SMERU's visits to NGOs actively involved in the implementation of the Social Safety Net (SSN) Program within the framework of the NGO Partnership Program. This time we would like to share some of our experiences about working with these NGOs in developing proposals for donor agencies, in this case AusAID, to participate in the monitoring of the SSN Program in their areas.

SMERU's task in the NGO Partnership Program was to provide technical assistance and expertise to these NGOs in developing proposals for AusAID's approval.

Many local NGOs have indicated their commitment and their concern over development programs, including those in the SSN Program, but there has been a prevailing lack of information about these programs. Except for some NGOs involved in program implementation, in many cases understanding about the SSN program has been inadequate. This was clearly evident in some of the early proposals. However, after the SSN 1999/2000 Program was launched, many NGOs began to have better understanding about the various parts of this program.

Problems and Procedures in Developing Proposals

In Indonesia there are many NGOs of various backgrounds involved in different kinds of activities, including community development, community empowerment, advocacy, and litigation. It has been estimated that there are 20,000 NGOs throughout Indonesia. Aware of this situation, AusAID developed a manual for the NGO Partnership Program, containing aspects to consider in developing a proposal. These included the objectives and the substance of monitoring, methodology, administration and budgeting procedures. This manual has been widely distributed among local NGOs in a number of provinces.

However, there were several major problems still encountered by the NGOs when developing their proposals.

Understanding about the Objectives and Substance
of Monitoring

In line with the expectations of the Government of Indonesia (GOI), AusAID emphasized that this partnership was limited to monitoring the SSN Program. Despite this, many NGOs still sent in proposals to monitor other programs, such as the Infrastructure Development for Poor Villages (P3DT), the Kecamatan Development Program (PPK), the Urban Poverty Alleviation-Program, or other development activities, such as micro credit, agricultural and horticultural programs. Due to such misunderstandings about the target of the Partnership Program, a lot of time was required to make essential corrections before the proposals were finally sent to AusAID.

Understanding and Creativity in Monitoring
Methodology

From the perspective of administration and targeting, the SSN program has been a massive program. Therefore AusAID required that the monitoring approach and the methodology adopted should be able to enhance transparency in program implementation and support involvement of beneficiaries. These two aspects are crucial to achieving community control and participation. It appears that this requirement is accepted by nearly all local NGOs. They found no difficulties in creating and developing methods to meet those requirements.

This is the result of a positive correlation between the NGOs' experiences with social issues and the skills they have acquired as community facilitators. These two factors have motivated the NGOs to continuously seek and apply different methods, models and approaches that are most suitable and acceptable. Methods and approaches such as Focus Group Discussions (FGD), Participatory Rapid Analysis (PRA), and Content Analysis are among those suggested in the proposals.

Understanding about a Broad-based NGO
Consortium

The AusAID manual made it clear that all local NGOs had equal opportunity to submit proposals, individually or through a consortium. A broad-based NGO consortium was suggested as an option because there were found to be 20 or more active NGOs in many locations. Therefore, when introducing the NGO Partnership Program, SMERU always encouraged the local NGOs to form and work together under a broad-based NGO consortium. This suggestion was well received by many organizations, as seen in the large number of NGO consortia submitting proposals.

The formation of broad-based NGO consortia has been spurred by an understanding that the SSN Program is a community program that should be able to be monitored in a transparent manner by all parties. Furthermore, this SSN monitoring under the NGO Partnership Program was NOT just another 'business as usual' project. It was intended to become an instrument to demonstrate that local NGOs are truly committed and concerned about the implementation of the SSN Program.

Understanding about Assistance and Funding

Enthusiasm to participate in the Program led many local NGOs to write proposals in a hurry but which were not in accordance with the procedures outlined in the manual. For example, some proposals included budget items that were clearly not to be included. For reasons of accountability, donor agencies are compelled to be strict in processing and approving proposals for assistance and funding. Any corrections and subsequent changes prolonged the approval process and could comprise objectivity. Sometimes this process took longer than necessary when certain administrative requirements were incomplete, such as a missing copy of a notarial document, an organization profile, an MOU of the establishment of the consortium, or the curriculum vitae of committee members.

Other important constraints for some local NGOs in developing proposals for donor agencies are their own limited facilities and infrastructure, and their lack of access to sources of information. Such constraints are mostly felt by NGOs in small towns in the Outer Islands which are not equipped with telephones, fax machines or e-mail facilities. Nevertheless, the tenacity, seriousness and commitment of these local NGOs resulted in 34 proposals reviewed by AusAID, of which 18 were finally approved. n Hudi Sartono, SMERU NGO Partnership Program

Buletin SMERU secara berurutan telah memuat pengalaman Tim SMERU ketika mengunjungi sejumlah Lembaga Swadaya Masyarakat (LSM) yang aktif dan peduli terhadap pelaksanaan Program Jaring Pengaman Sosial (JPS) di daerah. Dalam kerangka kerja NGO Partnership Program, SMERU ingin berbagi pengalaman mengenai dinamika LSM di daerah dan interaksi mereka dalam proses pengajuan proposal kepada lembaga donor - dalam hal ini AusAID - untuk dapat ikut melaksanakan pemantauan pelaksanaan Program JPS di daerahnya masing-masing.

Misi utama SMERU adalah membantu lembaga donor AusAID yang bermaksud mendukung upaya pengembangan kapasitas LSM di daerah melalui pemantauan Program JPS. Bantuan diberikan melalui asistensi teknis maupun expertise bagi LSM dalam proses penyusunan dan pengajuan proposal sebelum diajukan ke pihak AusAID.

Banyak LSM di daerah mempunyai komitmen dan kepedulian tinggi terhadap pelaksanaan berbagai program pembangunan - termasuk Program JPS- tetapi informasi mengenai program masih kurang. Kecuali LSM ‘pelaksana’ program JPS, pemahaman terhadap program masih belum memadai seperti tampak dari proposal-proposal awal yang dikirim. Namun, sejak Tahun Anggaran 1999/2000 pemahaman mengenai program JPS tampak semakin meningkat.

Dinamika Proses Pengajuan Bantuan Pendanaan

Di Indonesia terdapat banyak LSM dari berbagai latar belakang yang melakukan berbagai kegiatan yang berbeda, misalnya pengembangan dan pemberdayaan masyarakat, advokasi, atau litigasi, dsb. Diperkirakan saat ini terdapat lebih dari 20.000 LSM di seluruh Indonesia. Memahami keadaan ini, pihak AusAID telah menyusun sebuah Buku Panduan mengenai prosedur pengajuan proposal yang memuat berbagai aspek yang harus dipertimbangkan dalam menyusun suatu proposal, antara lain: tujuan dan substansi pemantauan, metoda, administrasi, dan prosedur anggaran kegiatan pemantauan. Buku Panduan ini disebarluaskan ke LSM-LSM di daerah.

Tetapi ternyata masih banyak masalah utama yang ditemui LSM ketika menyusun kontrak.

Pemahaman tentang Tujuan Pemantauan

Sesuai dengan harapan Pemerintah Indonesia, AusAID telah menegaskan bahwa kegiatan partnership dibatasi hanya untuk memantau Program JPS yang disempurnakan di Tahun Anggaran 1999/2000. Tetapi, ternyata masih banyak LSM yang mengajukan proposal untuk memantau kegiatan di luar program pemantauan Program JPS, misalnya untuk Program Program Pengembangan Prasarana Daerah Tertinggal (P3DT), Program Pembangunan Kecamatan (PPK), dan Program Pengentasan Kemiskinan Perkotaan (P2KP), atau untuk program aksi pembangunan masyarakat, seperti: penyediaan kredit mikro, budidaya pertanian/perkebunan, dll. Kekurang-pahaman ini telah memperpanjang waktu proses perbaikan proposal yang telah diajukan.

Pemahaman dan Kreatifitas Pengembangan Metoda Pemantauan

Program JPS adalah sebuah program berskala besar ditinjau dari segi administrasi program maupun dari sasaran penerima program. Karena itu AusAID mensyaratkan penerapan pendekatan dan metoda pemantauan yang menjamin transparansi pelaksanaan program dan keterlibatan masyarakat penerima. Kedua hal ini diperlukan untuk menciptakan kontrol dan partisipasi sosial masyarakat luas. Hampir semua LSM di daerah memahami ‘persyaratan’ ini. Mereka tidak mengalami kesulitan ketika harus membangun dan mengembangkan metoda pemantauan yang memenuhi syarat di atas.

Kondisi yang mendukung ini adalah hasil korelasi positif antara pengalaman LSM dalam bergelut dengan persoalan sosial di sekitarnya dan kepekaan mereka dalam memahami komunitas dampingannya. Kedua hal tersebut telah memacu LSM daerah untuk selalu mencari dan menerapkan berbagai metoda, model, atau pendekatan yang paling sesuai dan dapat diterima oleh masyarakat setempat. Metoda-metoda dan pendekatan seperti Focus Group Discussion (FGD), Participatory Rapid Analysis (PRA), dan Content Analysis adalah beberapa contoh yang diusulkan dalam proposal yang diajukan.

Pemahaman tentang Konsorsium LSM

Dalam Buku Pedoman dijelaskan bahwa AusAID membuka kesempatan yang sama bagi semua LSM di daerah untuk mengajukan proposal, baik secara individu maupun melalui konsorsium. SMERU menyarankan agar Konsorsium LSM diambil sebagai pilihan yang perlu dipertimbangkan karena diperkirakan setiap kota memiliki lebih dari 20 LSM aktif. Dalam setiap sosialisasi NGO Partnership Program, SMERU menghimbau agar LSM di daerah dapat bekerjasama dalam konsorsium yang berbasis luas. Himbuan tersebut dipahami dan diterima baik oleh sebagian besar LSM, terbukti dengan semakin banyaknya konsorsium LSM yang mengirimkan proposal.

Pembentukan konsorsium dipercepat dengan pengertian bahwa Program JPS adalah program masyarakat yang secara transparan harus dapat dipantau oleh semua pihak. Disamping itu, kegiatan pemantauan JPS dalam kerangka kemitraan kini telah dianggap BUKAN sekedar proyek biasa, melainkan sekaligus merupakan salah satu ‘pembuktian’ untuk memperkuat citra bahwa LSM di daerah betul-betul mempunyai komitmen dan kepedulian terhadap pelaksanaan Program JPS.

Pemahaman tentang Asistensi dan Pendanaan

Semangat tinggi untuk berpartisipasi dalam kegiatan pemantauan Program JPS ternyata telah mendorong LSM menyusun proposal secara tergesa-gesa tanpa mengacu pada Buku Panduan. Misalnya, beberapa proposal masih tetap mengajukan “jenis pendanaan” yang seharusnya dihindari sesuai dengan ketentuan. Karena aspek akuntabilitas mengharuskan lembaga donor bersikap ketat ketika melakukan proses persetujuan pemberian asistensi dan pendanaan, maka adanya perbaikan dan perubahan proposal telah memperlambat proses persetujuan dan dapat mempengaruhi obyektifitas. Proses persetujuan tersebut semakin lambat karena faktor ketidaklengkapan persyaratan administrasi seperti fotokopi akte, profil kelembagaan, kesepakatan pembentukan konsorsium, curriculum vitae pengurus, dll.

Kendala proses perbaikan pengajuan proposal lainnya adalah keterbatasan sarana/prasarana dan akses komunikasi. Kendala ini terutama dirasakan oleh LSM di kota-kota kecil di luar Jawa yang belum mempunyai sarana telepon, fax atau e-mail. Sekalipun demikian, kegigihan, keseriusan dan komitmen LSM di daerah pada akhirnya telah membuahkan 34 proposal atas nama konsorsium yang layak diajukan kepada lembaga donor untuk mendapat persetujuan, 18 di antaranya telah disetujui oleh AusAID. n

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